Berkmar High School Student Wins Modest Prom Dress

A Hispanic high school senior was awarded a free modest prom dress from a local modest bridal and formalwear shop. Julia Kilgore, the owner of The Yellow Rose, awarded the dress from her shop based on merit. Kilgore called the dress the "Gloria Dress" as it was done in memory of Kilgore's sister who died of breast cancer at the age of 43.

Lilburn, GA, May 16, 2009 --( Julia Kilgore wanted to do something to reward Hispanic girls for making good grades in school and encourage them to continue their education. She also wanted to do something to honor her sister's dedication and love of learning.

Earlier this year, Kilgore, the owner of the Yellow Rose Bridal Shop in Old Town Lilburn, decided to give a girl a formal dress from her shop in honor of her sister, Gloria, who died in 1986 at the age of 43 from breast cancer.

Students at Berkmar High School were eligible to apply for the merit-based award, and senior Vanessa Flores was chosen as the winner of the "Gloria Dress."

Instead of finishing high school, Gloria Garza Rodriguez eloped when she was 16 and had her first child about a year later. Eventually, Gloria divorced her husband, but the mother of two young children also obtained her GED and enrolled at Angelo State University. She received a degree in elementary education, becoming the only one of her siblings to graduate from college, and taught kindergarten.

"Gloria's story taught me that it is possible to be a strong, brave and courageous young lady," Flores wrote after receiving the dress. "Her story has inspired me to follow my dreams. Even though I did not have the privilege of meeting her, I attest that she still inspires other people today. Her struggles and victories reminded me how blessed I am to have the opportunity to go to college.

"Coming from an extremely humble Mexican family, I am tremendously lucky to be able to pursue a career. To me, as was the case with Gloria, education is the key to success. In the future, I hope to receive a master's degree in social work."

Kilgore said she plans to continue this scholarship and hopes to offer it to students at two schools next year.

Heather Darenberg writes about education for the Gwinnett Daily Post.

The Yellow Rose Bridal
Julia Kilgore